It’s too soon to panic.
Seriously, it’s Game 1 of 162. You can be annoyed. I’m not exactly thrilled. Nobody likes to lose, after all. But if you’re legitimately panicked after one game, well, I probably can’t calm you down, but I’ll try.
No, the Red Sox did not look great today. But after a short offseason and sloppy Spring Training, I honestly did not expect them to.
Chris Sale’s first inning was strong, striking out three of the first four batters he faced for a scoreless side. But his velocity was down and when he took the mound for the second inning, his command was spotty, at best; he allowed 7 runs (including 2 homers), his most ever in a Red Sox uniform, and he lasted just three innings, total.
Hector Velazquez came in to relieve Sale, though relief pitching has felt like an oxymoronic term with this team the past year or so. He gave up three runs before Heath Hembree and Tyler Thornburg, the alliterative twin disasters of the Red Sox bullpen walked in more runs and gave up more homers to widen the gap. It’s hard to see them sticking around the club; neither had strong Spring Training outings. Hembree posted a 4.20 ERA in 60 innings of regular season work last year; Thornburg, a 5.63 ERA in just 24 innings pitched. But as ESPN Sunday Night Baseball cohost Jessica Mendoza said to me last week, “Dave is not done. I feel like the bullpen piece needs more and I feel like they will go and get more, I’ll be shocked if they don’t do something before July comes around.”
And the Red Sox bats weren’t silent, but they also weren’t the Red Sox bats we’ve come to expect. The top of the first inning was strong, with three of the first four batters getting on base, including JD driving in Mookie for a 1-0 lead. But compared to the Mariners’ bats, including Tim Beckham, who had two home runs, and Edwin Encarnacion, who also homered, the Red Sox looked weak.
The game was not without
They’re tired. Maybe they’ve got a touch of World Series hangover. Maybe (probably) they need some arms upgrades. But guess what? They also lost Opening Day in 2004, 2007, and 2018. The other thing those three seasons have in common? They’re three of our four championships this century.
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Photo: Red Sox Twitter